CRANBERRY TWP — Division I collegiate opportunities are a rarity in any sport.
This year, they’ve proven to be quite common at X-Cel Gymnastics in Cranberry Township.
Four gymnasts from X-Cel’s Xquisite competitive team are moving on to major college programs next year. Mars resident Zoe Schweitzer has accepted a full scholarship to Ohio State. Hampton resident Shealyn Luksik has done likewise at the University of Kentucky.
Mars resident Karla Frank has accepted a walk-on opportunity at Pitt and Seneca Valley senior Emily Cyphers is taking a full scholarship at Bowling Green.
“I don’t know the last time we’ve had four Division I gymnasts in the same class go D-I,” X-Cel owner and coach Lindsay Stancil said. “That is extremely rare.
“We may have done something like this in the early 90’s, if at all.”
Schweitzer is on pace to graduate from PA Cyber School this month. She was Junior Olympic National bars champion in 2015 and a national qualifier the following year.
“I was doing gymnastics before I could walk,” Schweitzer said. “I’ve always loved all of the flipping and the challenge is always there to get better.
“I tried soccer when I was younger. I scored a goal in our own net, so forget that.”
Michigan, Penn State, Pitt and Florida were other schools Schweitzer considered before choosing Ohio State. She hopes to become a sports nutritionist.
“Once I got on campus, I felt like I belonged there,” she said.
Schweitzer practices 32 hours a week in the gym. All four of these girls practice five days a week there and have been doing so for years.
“They are all extremely dedicated and have special skills in different events to offer their schools,” Stancil said.
Luksik was Junior Olympic National bars champion in 2016. She looked at Pitt, Missouri and Michigan State before deciding on Kentucky.
She plans to study sports medicine.
“I was impressed by the atmosphere and I love the coaches at Kentucky,” Luksik said. “I just want to get a good education, contribute to the team and have a great time.”
Cyphers, a senior at Seneca Valley, has also competed at Junior Olympic Nationals. Her top event is the vault.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 5,” she said of gymnastics. “The flips and tricks keep it fun, but you also come to realize the danger of this sport when you’re doing double flips high in the air.
“We’ve all been doing this together here since we were little girls. I cherish these friendships and all we’ve accomplished as a team in this gym.”
Cyphers plans to study pre-law at Bowling Green.
A senior at Mars, Frank carries a 4.3 grade point average. She also considered Penn, Kentucky, Yale and Penn State before deciding to stay closer to home and attend Pitt.
“Karla is walking on at Pitt, but they’ve wanted her there for a long time,” Stancil said.
Holding dual citizenship in Thailand, Frank competed for the Thailand national team last year.
“I want to study bio-medical engineering and go on to pre-med,” Frank said. “Pitt has an excellent medical program. It was an easy choice for me.”
She described gymnastics as “an amazing sport that builds and tests your physical and mental strength.”
“All of these girls are elite gymnasts,” Stancil said. “They’ve been on college’s radars for a few years now. Zoe verbally committed to Ohio State in eighth grade.
“Shealyn verbally committed as a sophomore. Emily and Karla committed later on. These are outstanding young women. They’ve excelled.”